Sinéad O’Connor reportedly is explaining why she infamously ripped up a photo of Pope John Paul II during a 1992 performance on “Saturday Night Live.”
The Irish singer-songwriter says she’d removed the photo of the then-Pontiff from her mother’s bedroom wall after the elder woman died, according to an excerpt of O’Connor’s forthcoming memoir, “Rememberings,” published by Rolling Stone Magazine.
“It was taken when he visited Ireland in 1979. ‘Young people of Ireland,’ he had said after making a show of kissing the ground at the Dublin airport like the flight had been overly frightening, ‘I love you,'” the excerpt reads. “What a load of claptrap. Nobody loved us. Not even God. Sure, even our mothers and fathers couldn’t stand us.”
Ahead of her “SNL” appearance, O’Connor had “been pissed off for a few weeks” after “finding brief articles buried in the back pages of Irish newspapers about children who have been ravaged by priests but whose stories are not believed by the police or bishops their parents report it to,” she writes, per the excerpt.
She also was angry at that time because a man she knew in New York City had confessed to her he was a drug dealer who had been using children as “mules” and was expecting to be killed by a rival drug dealer, according to the passage in Rolling Stone.
O’Connor recalled how Irish singer and activist Bob Geldof in 1978 had ripped up a photo of Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta on a TV show after his Boomtown Rats’ single, “Rat Trap,” overtook the pair’s “Summer Nights” song at No. 1 on the charts, according to the book excerpt.
“My intention had always been to destroy my mother’s photo of the pope,” O’Connor wrote. “It represented lies and liars and abuse.”
During rehearsal of her late-night performance of Bob Marley’s “War,” O’Connor held up a photo of a Brazilian street kid who had been killed by police, she writes in the memoir selection.
But when it came time for the live “SNL” show, she ripped the photo of the Pope, stirring widespread outrage.
“Everyone wants a pop star, see? But I am a protest singer,” she writes in the memoir passage. “I just had stuff to get off my chest.”
“Rememberings” publishes Tuesday.